SSM Health St. Agnes Hospital, Fond du Lac, 2022 Community Benefits

SSM Health St. Agnes Hospital Supports COVID-19 Vaccine Equity Efforts

SSM Health St. Agnes Hospital – Fond du Lac collaborated with the Fond du Lac County Public Health Department and United Way as part of a Vaccine Equity Team to advance health equity by promoting a better understanding of the COVID-19 vaccine. The team worked to debunk misinformation and reach out to communities historically underserved by access to health care—people of color, the elderly, LBGTQ+ and rural residents.

As part of the effort, the team participated in a vaccine ambassador training program to help them in their conversations with those who were hesitant about receiving the COVID-19 vaccinations or needed more information about the vaccines.

Family medicine physician Taha El-Shahat, MD, from the SSM Health Fond du Lac Regional Clinic, helped answer any medical questions the new ambassadors had during an in-person phase of the training program. 

Equipped with the latest knowledge about the COVID-19 vaccines, the ambassadors learned how to engage others in conversation about their hesitancy in a respectful and empathetic way, and how to promote vaccine acceptance. 

The ambassadors also helped direct others to credible sources of information about the vaccines and learn how to recognize and respond to misinformation about COVID-19 and the vaccines. The ambassadors used course materials developed by Johns Hopkins University and Medicine International Vaccine Access Center.